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Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

17 July 2012

X-37B

With the retirement of the space shuttle one would think there are no operational space planes left but that's not the case.
In the early 2000's NASA tested a small craft called the X-40, a small aircraft with a wing shape slightly reminiscent of that of the shuttle and a size that could brig back memories of the old lifting bodies frm the late 1960's. This plane developed into the 120% larger X-37B space plane. The USAF ordered two of those small unmanned spacecraft and the first one was launched in 2010 on an Atlas V. It spent 224 days in space. A second X-37B even spent 469 days up in space.

The real thing after its 2nd flight. Photo: Boeing/USAF

John Jogerst made a kit of this small spacecraft available and recently changed the design a bit, adding the heat resistant tile structure to the plane's surface.
While I am awaiting a sudden moment of inspiration for the Alas boosters to be made, I decided to do Yogi a favour and do a testbuild of the new design.
But I can't just build. I am not like that. I started tinkering a bit more and gave the whole plane some more depth and structure. I added the insulation blanket texture and I made a post-flight version, with scorched heat shield and sides.
And that is what I am making now. And I still am adding details. I wanted to make it into a diorama while the plane is landing, so I opened the landing gear doors and fabricated some wheel wells.
This is getting out of hand, as usual.

Pictures after the break.


The lower part of the fuselage, extra reinforced with mat paper

I opened up the air brake and reinforced it with CA glue..

And the landing gear doors. The original black surface has been modified
and now has heat streaks from the re-entry.

Inside I built the wheel wells.


What next? We'll see. Keep this space in mind!
-PK
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